Samuel Olaniyi Otubela also known as Samuel Bela recently released his debut song titled ‘God loves you’. In this interview, he spoke about his music, how he started and most especially, the inspiration behind his debut track.
Can we meet Samuel Bela?
Well, I am Samuel Olaniyi Otubela I am the second of three children. I am a registered nurse and a writer, although I have not published a book of my own, I used to write for journals and magazines when I was still in School. ‘Bela’ is a name given to me by a senior colleague and most people started calling me Bro Bela
Please tell us a little about your background?
I had a nice childhood, although my father was often not at home but He didn’t let us feel it. My mum would tell us stories of how she met him and some of her experiences as a child, often when the moon is out, it was much fun. Sometimes, she’d teach us to sing.
How long have you been doing music?
Music had always been a part of me. I’d form tunes from words being said to me. I composed a song at age 5 titled kanga(well). But we all joked it off, in less than six months a song called kanga was released and it was a hit in Lagos. So, music had always been a part of me.
What prompted you to go into gospel music?
My being a gospel artist isn’t my choice, it was the Lord’s doing. Compared to my siblings I am the worst when it comes to vocals. I never wanted to be a musician but after I received another song at age 12, I started seeing things in an entirely different dimension.
What were your concerned when you decided to go into gospel music? Were you afraid you may not make enough money?
No. It was never about the money. In fact, at some points, I tried shifting lines but I just couldn’t do it. It’s about my place in the ministry.
Is ‘God Loves You’ your first production?
Yes o. It is my first production.
What inspired the song? Any Story behind it?
‘God Loves You’ was written around December period of 2016. It was a time when I was passing through emotional and financial turbulence. I showed love but it wasn’t reciprocated. I wanted things but it seemed impossible. Then, this song came to me as an assurance of God’s love.
If you are not doing music, what will you be doing in the Lord’s vineyard?
Acting. Or, probably directing. Because I write and direct most stage plays performed at my church and school. I love acting and most people think I have good director’s instinct. I believe in using my talent for God’s work.
Whose musical works influenced you while growing up?
A lot of them; Lucky Dube, Celine Dion, Tope Alabi, Lara George, Mariah Carey and most notably my mom because she inspired me to write my first song and most others.
Who and who do you wish to have collaborations with, foreign and Nigerian based?
Well, they’re quite much. Mike Abdul, Lara George, Shola Allyson, Tope Alabi, Jay Mikee Kirk Franklin, Jonathan McReynolds and Nathaniel Bassey.
Can you share some challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
I’ve gone through a lot. But all I’ll say is that it was worth it.
What is your most embarrassing moment as an artist?
None that I can remember. I hope I won’t have any (laughs)
Tell us a bit about your family.
My family….. I just thank God. He saved us and called us into His marvelous light. We are all living happy.
What’s next after ‘God Loves You? When should we be expecting an album?
(Smiles).. I have plans to release some more singles, maybe an EP. I just want to take things steadily.
What do you think about gospel singers doing collaborations with secular musicians? Are you thinking about doing that too?
In my opinion, I believe that the intent matters most. Some of them attend church, some could be my friend and I may want to work with them because we are friends; others might even be related. While others do so for the sake of popularity and money. Before I do a collaboration I need to ask God first and if He wills, I’ll go ahead.
What is your advice to other gospel artists, especially the up and coming?
Have a purpose and direction, let God tell you His plans for you. Have a vision, know what you are aiming, what you want to do and what you want to become. With a steadfast prayer and consistency in hard work, all things shall fall to pleasant places.
Samuel Bela can be reached through his social media handles – Instagram and Twitter: @iam_samuelbela, Facebook: Samuel Bela.